DECEMBER
2006

 

 

By
B. Rosie Lerner
 
Purdue Extension
Consumer
Horticulturist

 

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12-21-06

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Catmint 'Walker's Low' Named 2007 Perennial of the Year


The Perennial Plant Association has Catmint (Nepeta) 'Walker's Low' as its 2007 Perennial Plant of the Year. 'Walker's Low' is a versatile, hardy, herbaceous perennial that is terrific for edging, ground cover, and container and rock gardens. It also makes an excellent substitute for lavender, which really struggles in our climate.

This particular cultivar of catmint has much to recommend it. The long-lasting, blue-violet flowers contrast beautifully with the mounds of grey-green foliage. The plant reaches up to 36 inches tall and about the same in spread. ('Walker's Low' gets its name from a garden, not from its plant size.) The plant is easy to grow, requires little maintenance other than occasional cutting back, and is relatively free of pests and diseases. Bees and butterflies love this plant, but deer and rabbits seem to prefer other species. The foliage has a slight mint aroma when crushed.

'Walker's Low' is hardy in USDA Zones 3 to 8 and, though it can adapt to partial shade, the best bloom performance is in full sun. Like most other herbaceous perennials, well-drained soil is best. Cut the plants back about two-thirds just after the blossoms fade. The plants will look a bit rough initially but will quickly outgrow the haircut and reward the gardener with repeat blooms.

Although catmint is a member of the mint family, 'Walker's Low' is quite well behaved, compared to many of its relatives. Plants will spread slightly but will not take over the garden.

'Walker's Low Catmint is widely available from mail-order/online nurseries and, since it has been selected as the Perennial of the Year, it should also be available at most local garden centers.

 

Writer: B. Rosie Lerner
Editor: Olivia Maddox